Conservation and resilience to drought: a social-ecological perspective on conservation areas in Kenya's Southern Maasailand
Adams, William M
University of Cambridge
Department of Geography
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
MetadataShow full item record
Brehony, P. (2020). Conservation and resilience to drought: a social-ecological perspective on conservation areas in Kenya's Southern Maasailand (Doctoral thesis). https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.63972
This thesis aims to elucidate the complex and important ways in which community conservation areas in Kenya’s Southern Maasailand interplay with resilience to drought. Using a social-ecological systems perspective and a resilience lens, this thesis makes use of data from quantitative and qualitative methods, including a household survey, semi-structured interviews, document analysis, and remote sensing to investigate two group ranches in Kenya’s semi-arid South Rift, Olkiramatian and Shompole. These communities have chosen to establish conservation areas on a significant portion of their land, and they have experienced two severe droughts over the last decade. This thesis explores the historical context of livelihoods, droughts, and land tenure in Olkiramatian and Shompole, as well as the provenance of their conservation areas. Research findings show that the conservation areas were established in drought grazing refuges, and that these areas continue to be used in that way today. In examining processes of adaptive governance over recent droughts, this thesis also shows how the current constitution of natural resource governance institutions, and the ways in which they are given authority, have resulted in adaptive systems which are considered to be legitimate, participatory, and effective at mediating complexity and uncertainty. This thesis also revealed that although the social-ecological systems are changing, current land management systems appear to be maximising resources while maintaining local resilience for people, livestock, and wildlife. This research finds that although contestations exist, some of the benefits of conservation areas appear to be reaching poorer households, and that for most households, conservation areas did not make things worse during recent droughts. However, conflict with wildlife remains a significant cost. In collating these results, this thesis highlights that when there is strong local ownership, with effective governance which prioritises culturally and economically important livelihoods, conservation areas can be helpful in maintaining social-ecological resilience to drought.
Conservation, Community-based conservation, drought, resilience, social-ecological systems, East Africa, Pastoral, Mixed-methods
Corpus Christi College Cambridge, the Department of Geography, the Philip Lake II Fund, the Fieldwork Fund, the University of Cambridge Philosophical Society, The Nature Conservancy Africa, the Mary Euphrasia Mosley Fund, the University of Cambridge's Special Hardship Fund.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.63972
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International